I was born on 21st june 1986 to a very loving Christian family. I am 1 of 4 kids and I'm 2nd eldest. I was taught about Jesus from the day I was born and brought up knowing right from wrong. I went to church twice every Sunday and Sunday school on a Sunday afternoon. I got saved at a young age during one of the Sunday school classes. Everything was great. I had Christian friends at school and they all knew I was a Christian. I didn't find it hard to "fit in" at all. I listened to lots of people's testimonies in church and always though to myself "I don't really have a good testimony"..never say that to God!
When I turned 18 I met Chrîs. We started going out and I quickly knew he would be my one. Life then began to change a bit, I didn't get into drink or drugs but I knew I wasn't following the Christian path. On 1st September 2005. We were both in a very bad car accident. Before we crashed we passed a church. The sign outside read "Prepare to meet Thu God". I will never forget that sign. We rolled down the dual carriageway 8 times and only by the Grace of God did we end up the correct way up in the only layby on the road. We both walked away from that accident. Even the police said it was a miracle. The sign continued to play in my mind. I knew I wasn't right with God
Chris and I got our first house when I turned 20 and I was engaged at 21. We planned to get married 3 years later in April 2010.
When I think about the "worst days of your Life" I can think of 4 days and 17th April 2010, exactly a week before my wedding was one of those days. My amazing uncle Wesley died from bowel cancer. He was only 45. That week was a blur between wedding and funeral plans.
After the wedding I fell pregnant quite quickly, just 11 weeks in though I suffered from hyperemesis (constant sickness which required hospital stays and if drips) I could be sick up to 30 times a day. This lasted my whole pregnancy right through until delivery. So i did not enjoy my pregnancy at all,However on my due date 4th Feb 2011 my beautiful wee man Micah entered the world after a bit if a traumatic labour and I was overjoyed and knew that being a mummy was my purpose in life. At just 3 days old Micah ended up back in hospital severely dehydrated and jaundice. I was feeding him myself and didn't know that I wasn't producing enough milk. I felt awful and so guilty as I watched doctors try to get a vein that wouldn't collapse. In the end they had to shave his hair and place a drip into his head. It was heartbteaking. Micah stayed in for 3 days under a purple light and being tube fed. He eventually was able to stomach enough milk to use a bottle and we finally got home
Micah was a brilliant baby, he ate and he slept. He was sleeping right through the night from 6 weeks so when Micah was 9months Chris and I decided we would try for another baby.
We we thrilled to learn we got pregnant again straight away.
At around 9 weeks One morning I woke to some slight bleeding.i phoned the hospital who told me to go on bed rest and not to worry as it wasn't too heavy but to come in if any change. The next day it was a little worse so we went to hospital where they did a scan and we saw baby and its heartbeat. Doctors told me to continue bed rest just incase. I felt a lot better after seeing baby was ok. The next morning would be my 2nd worst day of my life. On 16th Jan 2012 I woke to what looked like a massacre. We rushed to hospital, I had another scan... I waited for what seemed an eternity when the nurse turned to us and said I'm so sorry but there's no heartbeat. I knew I had lost my baby. I was heartbroken. A couple of weeks passed and after suffering infection and constant bleeding due to the miscarriage I just wanted it all to be over .
We knew we wanted to try again. The doctors advised waiting for one full cycle before trying again. We did so and again fell pregnant straight away. I was so anxious this time and didn't want anything to go wrong. We were booked into the early pregnant unit due to the previous miscarriage. I had an early scan where they found the sac. I went home happy knowing all was as it should be. We were booked in for another scan in a few weeks. The weeks went by and we went for our next scan but things were measuring behind our dates. We were told not to worry and to wait another 2 weeks and come back. They were 2 very long weeks. I prayed so much that everything would have caught up. We had another scan. This time there had been some change but not very much....i knew then that i had lost this baby too. We were sent away for another 2 week wait just to be sure. On the morning of that scan I just knew that there wouldn't have been any change. I was right. We were told that baby didn't make it either. I was asked if i wanted to miscarry naturally or of I wanted an operation to remove the "contents of pregnancy" I hated that term so much.. that was my baby! I opted for the d and c as I didn't want to suffer for weeks with the chance of infection being high too. This was the 3rd worst day of my life.. 26th June 2012 I went in for my d and c... I was heartbroken again.. We both were. We knew we wanted more children and spoke about trying again. This time I was absolutely petrified. I thought what if it happens again, could I cope with another loss? Maybe we are only meant to have Micah here... but I longed for another baby.
We got prayed for one night in church and the word given to us was that we would have another child and that I would havs a safe and happy delivery. We knew this was from God so we decided to try again. Again I got pregnant straight away! I was sent back to the early pregnancy unit and scanned every week until 13 weeks. This baby was growing well even though u was terrified. Again the hyperemesis hit me at 6 weeks and I was admitted to hospital for iv drips. I had it right up until delivery again. One night during my pregnancy I had a dream about Chris' granny Sadie who had passed away the year we got engaged. In the dream she was holding a baby boy he was mine and she called him Judah. I woke the next day and told Chris about it and told him that the baby would be Judah if it was a boy! Judah means praise.. on 31st may 2013 my due date I gave birth naturally to a baby boy at 8lb 12oz. My labour was perfect and so was my baby Judah. My gift from God my rainbow after my storm and born to give Him praise. I was so in love with my 2 boys.
A few months passed and Life became hard. There were many days I didn't get up out of bed, didn't talk to anyone, blocked and deleted everyone on my phone because I couldn't face talking. I pushed Chris and my family away and everyday was a struggle. Depression and anxiety had taken a very strong hold on my life. I was terrified to do anything, go anywhere. I was so scared that something would happen. I didn't want my family to go out incase something happened to them too. Everything was terrifying to me. When Judah was 5 months old I knew I needed help. Chris and mum made me a doctors appointment and I was quickly seen by the mental health team. I was in denial when the doctors told me I had depression.. I thought to myself "how on earth could a Christian be depressed?" I was totally ashamed and I didn't want anyone to know i had this label as I felt like a failure and that people would see the diagnosis and think I don't love my kids or my family when in fact they are my whole world. I now know that people never thought that of me. I felt like such a failure and an embarrassment so I hid away again in my depressive state. Not wanting anyone near me. Of course there were times when I wore the "happy mask" and when I did see people I never let them know how I really felt .
25th April 2014 was the 4th worst day of my life..the day after my 4 wedding anniversary I lost my beautiful granny to dementia. This hit me so so hard. I was already in a dark place and this was the tip of the iceberg. I was sent to cbt and tried lots of different drugs each with varying terrible side effects.
After a couple of years seeing psychiatrists and finally being out on my now stable medication etc I really wanted to help myself. My lovely friend Carol Mckee had been asking me to join her choir for over a year.. singing is my thing, my getaway. (Even now if in stressed or annoyed Chris will send me up to our room so I can just sing my heart out 😂) eventually I agreed to join Carol and Alive community choir. Even there I was able to hide my depression and anxiety and never told anyone why i didn't work and how I really felt ( i was permanently signed off work and lost my job in 2015 due to my mental health...again I felt like a failure) I just told everyone that I wanted to be a stay at home mummy (which is true too).
At choir i kept hearing people talk about this group GLOW (Giving Life opportunities To women) Maxine convinced me that it was something I should go along to as I would benefit from it... They all raved about it so much and how it changed their lives that i was really intrigued. I was willing at this point to try anything to help myself no matter how scary it seemed.
I went online and signed up!... I was terrified even sending the request because i knew I would have to speak to someone i didn't know.
Chara replied and asked me to come down to city life centre to fill in a few forms. Everything within me wanted to reply "nah you're ok it doesn't matter, just leave it." because of the anxiety but I prayed for strength because deep down I knew I needed to do something.
I had not been out alone in my car since the depression diagnosis in 2013 yet in April 2016 here I was driving to a new place alone to meet someone new.. I know that this was all God's strength because there is no way I could have done that alone.
I met the lovely Chara and instantly felt at ease and knew this personal development course was right for me at that time. Each week I made it my mission to drive there alone (with someone on the other end of the phone on speaker the whole way there and back...my wee comfort blanket) and each week I did it. I felt so proud. I became part of a close knit group and started to make friends. I was learning so much about stinking thinking and how it can hinder every part of your life. We were taught new ways to think positively. We were stripped right down and each of us shared our stories. It was SO nice to know I wasn't alone and other people thought how I thought.
My absolute turning point was the weeks we went to the Belfast activity centre. The first week we were challenged to try the climbing wall..however my goal was to simply get on the minibus. I wasn't in control of driving and that scared me so much. I had to put my trust in someone else. Gemma got us all there safely. I managed my goal of getting there. I thanked God on the spot. Out of nowhere I got the nerve to try the wall.. I expected to make a few steps up and that would have been totally fine. Another goal in itself .. instead with the encouragement of the girls and the strength from God I climbed right to the top! I felt like super woman!! The feeling stayed with me all week Until we returned again the BAC. Fear set in again when I saw what was planned this week. The leap of faith..there was no way I was doing that!! I got off the minibus (my goal of getting there achieved once again) and watched as some of the girls made it to the top of the pole. It was my turn.. I was shaking like a leaf. I thought I should give it a try. I climbed up, praying the whole way. I reached the top and realised that I had to have faith in the equipment to jump into thin air. The ledge was wobbling like mad. I prayed continually and then I did it. I jumped! I made it.
When Im reminded of my fears now I think back to that day and remember that I just have to have faith. With it i can overcome. Nothing bad happened to me because everything was in control. My promise verse from my baptism is Jer 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper and not to harm you. Plans to give you a hope and a future" God has been constantly in control of my life. He has never left me. Even at my darkest he was there. He put people in my path to help and direct me. I'm
so thankful to Chara and to Glow for helping me when I needed it most. They are still helping and supporting me today.
It's not an easy ride now, there are still hard times but I'm getting there. Right now I'm just praying for direction. Even if I stumble I will get back up. God isn't finished with me yet.
Yes it's so hard to know that you're not alone when lots of things don't be spoken about. This is why I want to share my story. For a long time I was ashamed and embarrassed and there is simply no need to be. I'll still have my down days whixh aee srill as hard and there are times when even now I push people away but I'm learning and know one day I will overcome this all forever. But for now I just want people to know that they have me to speak to and I'll help anyway I can 💛💙
If you feel down, depressed or anxious please know you are not alone. It's nothing to be ashamed of. If you need to talk please pm or message me. I'm always here 💜💛